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Workplaces apply as the most appropriate areas to promote healthy habits among individuals because of the ease of admittance, amount of time spent there, as well as availability of effective hold up systems. The main rationale behind corporate wellness programs is the endemic levels of obesity and other associated health challenges among workers.
Escalating insurance rates and growing rates of obesity are concerns nationwide and within our company. Research has shown that when personnel are healthy, morale is boosted, making employees more proficient in their duties. Coinciding with healthier employees is lower health cost, for both the employee and the employer.
Employee wellness in the workplace ought to be the principal focus of human resource planning and management in an organization. One of the essential steps in implementing a wellness program is planning. Implementation of a workplace wellness program requires regular monitoring and adjustments where necessary.
Workplace wellness refers to organizational programs that focus on promoting the ability of individuals in a workplace to control and improve their health. Workplace wellness is one of the key corporate activities for most organizations in America and world over (Patterson, 2007).
This is because such programs serve, as means to acquire and identify new opportunities, as well as getting support and back up required by employees to improve their health. Workplaces apply as the most appropriate areas to promote healthy habits among individuals because of the ease of admittance, amount of time spent there, as well as availability of effective hold up systems.
Any organization should prioritize the idea of introducing a wellness program as an investment activity due to the return on investment potential of such a program (Patterson, 2007). An organization can incorporate various wellness programs for its workforce that include medical testing, weight supervision programs, health instruction, health training, and health fairs.
The main rationale behind corporate wellness programs is the endemic levels of obesity and other associated health challenges among workers (Patterson, 2007). Health complications among employees are costly to an organization due to low individual esteem, reduced productivity, and absenteeism from work (Patterson, 2007). Some of the critical activities of developing a wellness program include identifying the cause of the prevailing health condition, setting attainable goals for the program, and effective communication.
Escalating insurance rates and growing rates of obesity are concerns nationwide and within our company. Putting an employee wellness program into practice will provide various benefits to the company as a whole. Employees getting into shape and living a healthy lifestyle, as taught during training within a program, makes for healthier employees. Healthier employees increase productivity within the company (Patterson, 2007).
Employees that are healthy are less suitable to be absent from work, thus furthering productivity even more. Research has shown that when personnel are healthy, morale is boosted, making employees more proficient in their duties. Coinciding with healthier employees is lower health cost, for both the employee and the employer (Patterson, 2007).
A research conducted in the United States of America, indicated that the cost of treating obesity averaged at $13 billion every year. The research also indicated that the cost of health insurance covering obesity and its associated medical conditions was the highest at $8 billion (Donovan, 2006).
Thus, it is imperative to apply the best practices to acknowledge employees and motivate them to take part in a wellness program. Obesity is the biggest health related challenge in our company. This problem will pull down the prospects of the company in the near future, if not addressed right away, and in an effective manner.
The major cause of this problem in our company is the work environment that increasingly requires sitting or little activity (Donovan, 2006). This problem has increased expenditure in the company, as well as greatly reducing general productivity of employees and the company. Research shows that a worker who files for obesity related claims has an absenteeism average rate of 45 days (Donovan, 2006).
Employee Wellness in the Workplace
Employee wellness in the workplace ought to be the principal focus of human resource planning and management in an organization. It is important to have a healthy and happy workforce capable of fulfilling their respective potentials and employer expectations (Stephanie, 2009). The ability of employees to fulfill their work responsibilities beds on the corporate culture and organizational structure of their company.
These two key organizational elements shape the environment around the workplace in terms of the kind of activities carried out, the manner of execution, and the participating parties. Having employee wellness programs as part of an organizations corporate culture is a very important investment (Stephanie, 2009).
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The organizational structure in our company dictates how much employees are involved in key company activities such as decision-making and professional development. However, it is important to incorporate a wellness program for all employees and ensure that there are appropriate strategies to encourage and motivate them to participate actively in all program activities (Stephanie, 2009).
This is because, the high number of individuals suffering from work related health challenges such as obesity experience difficulties in enrolling and participating in such programs due to low esteem.
However, employees also have a part to play in ensuring a healthy workplace environment in the company, by addressing their own obesity challenges first. One of the challenges experienced by employees is generating a perception that employers discriminate against obese workers (Stephanie, 2009).
Research has shown that obesity increases the rate of death by up to thirteen times among severely obese individuals. Introducing a wellness program may be an expensive investment for the company, but it will yield many benefits in the end. First, through the program, cohesion within the company will improve due to increased interaction of employees, as well as a common activity they can all identify with.
The second benefit of introducing a wellness program is that it will improve workforce retention (Stephanie, 2009). Workers suffering from obesity and other health conditions will increase their loyalty to the company because of the accessibility of health services and instruction at competitive rates within their workplace. Employees like sticking to an employer who is conscious of their wellbeing, and making an effort at the same time.
The third benefit is improved productivity (Stephanie, 2009). A wellness program will lead to a healthy, confident, and happy workforce capable of giving their best output towards meeting their organizational responsibilities and goals. The fourth benefit of a wellness program is saving on the cost of healthcare incurred by the company (Stephanie, 2009). When employees are healthy, the cost incurred due to low productivity, absenteeism, and high insurance covers greatly reduce to manageable levels.
Implementing the Program
One of the essential steps in implementing a wellness program is planning. Planning ensures the success of different program designs covering any number of employees (Larkin, 2009). After planning, implementation begins taking into consideration everything identified and analyzed in the plan.
Implementation of a workplace wellness program entails regular monitoring and adjustments where necessary. When planning for the wellness program, five essential considerations apply to ensure success. The first consideration is the root cause of obesity and high cost of insurance among employees and their families (Larkin, 2009). This is crucial in identifying important information for developing a workplace program that targets the challenges of employees.
This avoids investing time and resources on irrelevant issues. The second consideration is the kind of expectations everyone has from the wellness program (Larkin, 2009). It is important to develop realistic and attainable expectations that encourage employee participation. The third consideration is need for aggressive and effective communication. Running a workplace wellness program requires constant communication between employees and the facilitators.
The fourth consideration is the need to integrate other employee benefits and conditions into the program (Larkin, 2009). Apart from improving their health, it is important to consider other benefits employees can drive from the program. Employee conditions such as disabilities need consideration when developing the wellness program. The fifth consideration is the need to practice the ideals promoted through the program (Larkin, 2009).
This entails everyone in the company participating in the program regardless of their position. Employees can fail to give full commitment to the program if their seniors fail to do the same. Any workplace wellness program that focuses on these key considerations is always successful in implementation and getting the desired results.
Steps in Implementing the Program
A workplace wellness program follows certain essential steps. These steps explain the practicability of the program, the required resources, sets goals, develops expectations, monitoring and evaluation strategies, as well as maintaining its continuity (Larkin, 2009). The first step is to establish the need for introducing the program (Wellness Proposals, n.d., par.1).
This step entails talking to employees, the management, and experts in order to identify if introducing a wellness program applies in the company. The second step is identifying the benefits that the program will bring to the company and all employees (Wellness Proposals, n.d., par.2).
This step is important in developing program goals and expectations that align to the expected benefits. The third step is forming a team that will educate employees on the program details such as the objective, scope, essentials, as well as the numerous roles and benefits they can anticipate.
The fourth step is analyzing the needs and interests of employees. Since the program focuses on the wellness of employees, it is necessary to assess the needs they have, as well as their main interests (Wellness Proposals, n.d., par.4). This helps in designing the program with an orientation towards these employee particulars.
The fifth step is designing the program itself (Wellness Proposals, n.d., par.5). This step entails identifying and developing a vision, goals, and objectives for the program. These act as the guides for the program during implementation and in long-term maintenance. The sixth step is creating a timeline and a budget for the program.
A timeline outlines the projected period for accomplishing goals and objectives of the entire program functions and activities. A budget also applies in stating the amount of financing necessary in actualizing the program goals (Wellness Proposals, n.d., par.6).
The seventh step is identifying essential motivation for the program. This entails the features and activities of the program that will motivate employee participation. Employees need to stay motivated in their activities if they want to gain any benefits from the program (Wellness Proposals, n.d., par.7).
The eighth step is garnering support for the program from all employees. For a wellness program to succeed in our company, getting the support of the target group is important. The key to getting employee support is convincing them that the program will be of benefit to them. The support is important in ensuring continuity of the program. The ninth step is marketing the wellness program in the workforce (Wellness Proposals, n.d., par.9).
This step entails creating awareness for program among employees by educating them on the requirements for the program, how it works, the period for which it will run, how it will affect their activities, and the benefits they will get from the program. The tenth step is implementing the program (Wellness Proposals, n.d., par.10).
This step applies when all the other steps have satisfactorily met the essential standards and levels important for program success. It is important to implement the program after adequate awareness creation and a conviction that employees feel motivated enough to embrace the program. The strategies applied in implementing the program are likely to influence from employees, as well as potential for prolonged success.
The final step of implementing a wellness program in the workplace is measuring of accomplishments (Wellness Proposals, n.d., par.11). This entails an establishment of how well the progress made in the program for a certain period, has met the set goals. It also involves an analysis of commitments to the set timelines.
An evaluation for the program also identifies any necessary changes to the program that would improve its performance. Monitoring and evaluation is crucial to the success of the program as it helps to keep everything in check, as well as sustainable utilization of resources.
Monitoring and evaluation also identifies opportunities for the programs, as well as any possible threats from the external environment. One key process of monitoring and evaluation for this program is an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and weaknesses of the program.
To ensure the actualization of the solution to the problem of obesity in our company, there are various steps and actions I would recommend. These recommendations primarily focus on handling the challenge of obesity among employees in the company. The first recommendation is to encourage employees to avoid using the elevator, but instead use the stairs (Stephanie, 2009).
This is achievable by increasing the attractiveness of the stairways through strategies like repainting, introducing wide windows or introducing a carpet. The second recommendation is creating a campaign to promote healthy living in the workforce by introducing healthy conscious foods and practices for all employees.
The third recommendation is imposing a mandatory rule for all employees to desist from remaining in their desks after taking a meal, but instead take walk around the company premises as they interact with others. This move is all about exercise (Stephanie, 2009). The company can provide showering facilities for any employee who would be interested in exercising over short and long breaks.
This will encourage workers to take up exercise as part of their daily workplace activities. Another recommendation that employers can apply on their employees is offering motivation for health management. Incentives include providing competitively priced medical insurance covers and rewards for the employee who loses the most weight in a year (Stephanie, 2009).
Another recommendation is for the company to collaborate with healthcare service providers to introduce employee-training programs that focus on managing and improving their personal health, and that of their colleagues. Employees get professional instruction on how to manage their weight, and other medical challenges that connect to obesity.
Introducing a wellness program is the best solution to solve the problem of obesity within the workforce (Stephanie, 2009). If the company management implements these recommendations effectively, then I believe that in the near future we will have a healthier and highly motivated workforce.
Donovan, P. (2006). Workplace Wellness Case Studies: Tactics to Promote Health and Reduce Risk: New York: Healthcare Intelligence Net.
Larkin, S. (2009). Healthy Profits: The Five Elements of Strategic Wellness in the Workplace. London: Yellow Duck Press.
Patterson, M. (2007). Health Promotion in the Workplace. New York: Cengage Learning.
Stephanie, O. (2009). Next-Generation Wellness at Work. New York: ABC-CLIO. Wellness Proposals: Guide to Worksite Wellness Programs. (n.d.) Web.